Parents of woman mocked by Toronto cops 'disappointed' in disciplinary hearing delays
Published Tuesday, September 19, 2017 8:24AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 19, 2017 2:10PM EDT
The parents of a young woman with Down syndrome say they are “very disappointed” that a disciplinary hearing for two Toronto police officers caught mocking their daughter has once again been adjourned.
The hearing for Const. Sasa Sljivo and Const. Matthew Saris, who have both been charged under the Police Services Act, was put over until Oct. 18 following a previous adjournment in August.
The charges were laid in connection with a Nov. 5, 2016 traffic stop in the area of Royal York Road and the Queensway.
Pamela Munoz and her two daughters were pulled over by two officers in the area and given a ticket for allegedly making a left-hand turn on a red light.
It wasn’t until months later when Munoz went to fight the ticket that she learned about the comments the two officers made that night about her daughter Francie, who has Down syndrome.
Munoz obtained dash camera video from the police cruiser on the night of the traffic stop and in the video, one officer is heard calling Francie “disfigured” and suggests that he would use “artistic” as his code word for “different.” The other officer is heard repeatedly laughing at his partner’s comments.
“We were emailed by the assistant of the prosecutor that they (the officers) couldn’t hold their plea anymore so that today a plea would be forthcoming. That did not happen. They keep pushing. They are telling us you don’t need to come to the next one and your supporters don’t need to be here,” Munoz said.
“They very obviously want to push it, discourage people from coming and they just want people to forget about it and us to forget about it and sweep it under the rug.”
Family filing application with Human Rights Tribunal
Faisal Bhabha, the lawyer representing the Munoz family, said they plan to launch an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario today.
He said he hopes the application will bring attention to the issue of discrimination against people with developmental disabilities.
He referred to today’s adjournment as a “further attempt to delay.”
“With what is going on today, there is no faith in police at all because as you can see, they are supposed to be fair. The trial here is supposed to be fair to Francie and to the officers but apparently that is not the purpose here. It is just to delay,” Francie's father Carlos Munoz said.
“Make no mistake, we as a family, we will be here. We will follow through with this because this is not just for Francie, this is for everybody and we will not let the police get away with this.”
Sljivo is facing a discreditable conduct charge and Saris has been charged with neglect of duty.
The officers previously issued a written apology, calling their comments “inappropriate, disrespectful and unprofessional.”
The hearing has been adjourned until Oct. 18 at 9 a.m.